Have you checked out the Ortigas Market?
Folks who live in the Ortigas area searching for a place where they can buy delicious food, shop for snacks and groceries, and engage in community activities can head to Emerald Avenue, which is a carless street on weekends, but is also home to the Ortigas Market from 5am to 2pm on Saturdays.
A market for all
Started last October 2022, the Ortigas Market is a physical platform of what was once an online group of sellers who had to pivot during the pandemic. “We actually took inspiration from the other markets in Makati,” says Marissa Dames, president of DTC Promos, Inc. who organized the Ortigas Market as a social enterprise. “…Legaspi Market, the organizer (Joey Casimiro) is a friend, he has been very generous in his mentoring….”
The Ortigas Market was conceptualized as a community building center, “meaning people don’t just come to buy and sell, but they also come because there are activities that we have in the market that are family oriented,” Dames explains.
Activities include ping pong games, Zumba classes, and an arts and crafts section. “These are all done in partnership with the City of Pasig, Barangay San Antonio, and of course, Ortigas Center. We also have monthly baking and cooking classes,” she adds.
The Market attracts different kinds of clientele, depending on the time slot. The 5am crowd consists of call center employees, as Emerald Avenue houses around 54 call centers. At 8am onwards, it’s families and Ortigas residents, mostly condominium dwellers, all of them excited for their Saturday morning to early afternoon treat.
Supporting local agriculture
The Ortigas Market also supports local agriculture. There are fish and meat vendors who source their products locally, as well as local farms and farmer-forward enterprises. Some of these include:
Mumshroom is a small business that sells mushroom chips (They have 10 flavors) and frozen mushroom products like patties and sisig. All its products are vegan, preservative-free, and made exclusively from mushrooms grown in owner Grace Pascual’s mushroom farm in Nueva Ecija. The business was conceptualized in 2018 but didn’t bloom until the pandemic, when celebrities discovered and started telling people about Mumshroom’s mushroom chips.
Nayong Kalikasan Organic Farm is a Cavite farm that cultivates naturally farmed coffee and black pepper, as well as other fruits and vegetables. Its owner, George Salinas, turned what was a hobby farm at first into a farm enterprise. Aside from his small-batch roasted coffee, buyers can also check out other farm products, which include ornamental plants.
Mayani is an organization that consolidates produce from small farmers all over the country and sells them directly to businesses or consumers. While most of their commerce happens online via their website, they have a physical stall in the Market where shoppers can buy fresh fruits and vegetables for their weekly meals.
A social enterprise
The Market also ties up with churches, hospitals, LGUs, and groups like Scholars of Sustenance, a US-based food rescue organization that channels donated food and the like to targeted beneficiaries.
As a marketing veteran, Dames connects vendors to each other and to contacts that can help enhance their enterprises. ““We’ve (DTC Promos, Inc.) been in the business for 30 years, so the people that we meet, the network that we built, have become a rich resource for us to link them together.” She cites an example: “…we tied up Scholars of Sustenance with Mayani… so now we’re talking about how to make use of these fruits that won’t go to waste.”
She also uses her expertise to enhance vendors’ marketing endeavors when needed. “The biggest problem for the farmers and the producers and the small entrepreneurs is the marketing aspect,” Dames says. “We teach them the same principles that we apply in the in-store marketing for our food clients.”
The Market also tours high schools with guest speakers, teaching students cooking and food preparation as a life skill and giving talks encouraging students to consider working in the food industry.
The biggest reason folks become regulars of the Ortigas Market is because they enjoy it. After all, an enjoyable product experience is the easiest way to get loyal clients.
The Ortigas Market is located outside Strata 1000 along Emerald Avenue, Oritgas Center, Pasig City. It runs from 5am to 2pm every Saturday. Please note that Emerl Avenue does not allow cars on weekends.